In terms of claiming welfare benefits: One of the very first welfare benefits you should apply for is PIP (Personal Independence Payment) - The Daily Living & Mobility benefit. Unlike other welfare benefits such as Income Support or ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) that rely on you being someone with no real income, someone on a very low income or some who has a disabilty but could work later on, PIP is a benefit that is not means tested. Meaning, it does not matter if you are employed or unemployed.
To claim PIP you first need to call the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions). Although you could get your CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist), Mcmillan advisor or Dimbleby advisor to make the call for you, you should be aware that the DWP will be asked questions personal to you. Personal questions that your CNS, Mcmillan advisor or Dimbleby advisor would not know. So if you do require their help, you should ideally be sitting next to them when they make the call to the DWP or at least give them your personal details beforehand.
In my case I rang the DWP myself, on 22nd November 2017. The 'over the phone' application process was quite lengthy but straight forward and involved me answering questions about myself and any other benefits I may be claiming. The call lasted 21 minutes due to the way the DWP assistant had to clarify certain details by spelling things such as my full name and address; to make sure no errors were made during the phone call (application process).
Six days later (28th November) I received the 40 page How Your Disability Affects You application form where I had to describe in minute detail my disabilities and conditions regarding my living with cancer and diabetes type 2. Although the questions were simple enough, I would advise you to be as detailed as possible in your answers.
Explain all the really small details (such as how back ache affects your movement and the inability to carry shopping and/or walk to the shops and/or how reliant you are on other people when your energy levels drop), even if it makes you look like a whinger. Those details may seem small, but they will matter when your application is being assessed. Do not exaggerate or make stuff up though because the DWP can visit you or ask you to visit their office for a health assessment at any time.
Anyway. After posting my application form (on 29th November), which the DWP promptly texted me about when they received it, on 7th December I recieved a call from my CNS to say the DWP had called her for extra, medical, information and that they were now processing my claim for PIP.
Two weeks after the call from my cns (21st December) I received a call from the DWP to say they were currently processing my application but just needed to clarify some details. Once I clarified those details the DWP told me my claim had been successful and that I should receive a payment forecast in the post within the next five days, if not slightly longer due to it being Christmas.
On 29th December I received a bank payment for £685.34, which was a three month PIP back payment based on the rate of PIP payment I would be getting each month. On 31st December I then received my payment forecast in the post that stated I would be getting the enhanced rate of £83.10 per week (for daily living needs) and the enhanced rate of £58 per week (for mobility needs) because I was awarded 12 Points overall.
As you can see: The whole process took one month to process, which I thought was quite good seeings as it was processed over the christmas period.